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4 Ways To Preserve Your Tomatoes At Their Peak

Eventually, the heat will break. The leaves will fall, and the election will come and go. Winter will take over, and there will no longer be any tomatoes worth eating – unless you start planning now, that is. With tomatoes at their peak, now’s the time to begin preserving them for the less-abundant seasons to come. From slow-roasting to jams to some more unexpected options, here are 4 recipes that are worth heating up the house for. We promise that the temporary suffering of summertime cooking will be well worth it when you crack open the mason jar or freezer bag in December.

TOMATO PEACH PRESERVES

Tomatoes have a significant amount of pectin, the natural thickening agent in fruits, that makes it perfect for turning into jams and preserves. Combined with sweet summery peaches, this spread makes a delightful addition to any brunch menu. Serve on plain toast or with soft cheese.

INGREDIENTS

1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

2 overripe, soft peaches, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon honey

1 orange

2 tablespoons ginger

Juice from ½ orange

INSTRUCTIONS In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the tomatoes and peaches until they begin to soften and release their liquids (about 10 minutes.) Using a vegetable peeler or knife, peel a thin section of the orange peel, about ¼ of the orange. Slice the skin into fine ribbons. To the saucepan, add the orange ribbons and the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Continue to heat over low heat until the preserves reach the desired thick consistency about 20 more minutes stirring occasionally. If you prefer a sweeter preserve, add one more tablespoon of honey or two teaspoons of sugar. Yields 1½-2 cups preserves

SUN-DRIED TOMATO SHORTBREAD COOKIES

These cookies are savory and addictive appetizer. A slightly sweet and buttery cookie is the perfect vehicle for the natural sweetness of sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, toasted pine nuts, and a sprinkle of Pecorino Romano cheese. Feel free to change the herbs and other additions to what you have on hand as these cookies lend themselves to many tasty variations. These would also be delicious with our slow-roasted cherry tomatoes.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup flour

½ cup cornstarch

½ cup sugar

I stick of butter, softened

1 teaspoon almond extract

½ cup diced sun-dried tomatoes

2 tablespoons chopped basil

¼ cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped

3 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and cornstarch. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, almond extract, and butter with a wooden spoon until the sugar is completely absorbed by the butter. Add the butter to the flour mixture and using your hands or a pastry cutter, blend the butter and flour together using your hands or pastry cutter. Just before the dough fully comes together, add the tomatoes, basil, pine nuts, and cheese. Continue mixing until a ball forms. The dough should be slightly crumbly. Wrap the ball in plastic and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface to ¼-inch thickness. Using a circle cookie cutter, cut circles from the dough and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the cookies for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are just lightly golden. Be careful not to overbake as the cookies should not change color. Let cool and serve. Yields 12 2-inch cookies

SPICY YELLOW TOMATO JAM

INGREDIENTS

2 pints Sungold tomatoes (approximately 1 ¾ pounds)

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar

juice and zest of two limes

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Wash the tomatoes and slice them in half. Place them in a bowl and add the sugar. Stir to combine. Let the tomatoes sit with the sugar for at least one hour before cooking, until they get quite juicy. When you’re ready to cook, pour the tomato mixture into a 12-inch skillet and place it over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring regularly, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tomatoes thicken and look quite glossy. Near the end of cooking, stir in the lime juice, zest, salt, and cayenne powder. When the jam doesn’t look at all runny, it is done. As soon as the jam is cool, it is ready to serve. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. For longer storage, it can be funneled into clean, hot jars and processed in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes. Makes 2 ⅓ cups

DIY TOMATO KETCHUP

The Table Matters staff makes Table Matters (and several other things, too). Most of them are based in Philadelphia.

INGREDIENTS

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon tomato paste

⅓ cup packed brown sugar

⅓ cup molasses

⅓ cup cider vinegar

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon salt

INSTRUCTIONS

In a saucepan, cook the onion in the olive oil until it starts to brown. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, molasses, tomato paste, cider vinegar, paprika, and salt. Stir. Simmer, uncovered, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes, for approximately 1 hour, 15 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. Chill. Ketchup can be kept in a sealed container for up to three weeks. adapted from Gourmet